Massage can help humans ... and eventually horses

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MaKayla McClain is a licensed and nationally certified massage therapist. Photo by TANNA YEOUMANS

BONNERS FERRY — Getting a massage has a wide variety of health benefits, from relieving pain to lowering blood pressure, and many things in between. The health benefits also apply to animals such as horses and dogs.

MaKayla McClain is a licensed and nationally certified massage therapist who currently operates out of a room in Rawlings Community Counseling alongside Katie Holeski. Her business name is Integrated Massage Therapy, and she also works at the Kootenai River Inn Spa.

She met Holeski at the Kootenai River Inn Spa and from there, their friendship blossomed.

“I think Katie is a hoot, I love her,” said McClain. “She is this cool, free spirit. We hit it off and she got this deal offered to her and we had been brainstorming business ideas anyway, and she thought about me and asked me to be a part of it.”

McClain and her husband moved to Bonners Ferry from southeastern Idaho about a year and a half ago.

“My husband got a wild hair one day and told me that he was going to go to Bonners Ferry and try to find a job,” said McClain. “He got a call the next day, and he said we will move up here the next week.”

McClain has been interested in massage since she was young.

“I have always been interested in it ever since I was a kid, just kind of the way the body works and its ability to heal,” said McClain.

McClain began massage school in Maui, Hawaii, in 2008, eventually pursuing the rigorous testing to obtain the title of nationally certified.

“I voluntarily went to this intense course, study, test, and rigorous hours that I needed to keep and maintain to have that,” said McClain.

She has had that certification since 2010 and continues to meet the requirements to maintain that licensing, along with the Idaho license.

McClain was originally looking into practicing equine massage. As a horse owner, she understands the horse and rider relationship and how having a healthy team allows for a smooth performance.

“Then I decided that it would be a little smarter to start with somebody that can give feedback without biting you,” said McClain.

She is currently pursuing equine massage and plans to continue both paths to bring not only people the health benefits, but their equine partners as well, enabling the team to function to the best of their abilities.

“Now that I have gotten a feel for this, I am pursuing equine massage to tie it in,” said McClain. “The relationship we have with our animals is fascinating.”

Massage reduces pain and tension, allowing the horse more freedom and fluidity of movement as well as aiding the rider with being more relaxed and centered. Moving the muscles around also releases endorphins, in turn reducing the amount of pain perception. With more relaxed muscles, the movement is not only more fluid, but it puts less tension on the joints, in turn reducing the likelihood of injury.

“You are a happier individual if you’re not in pain, so if you can live your life pain free, you’re feeling good, and happy,” said McClain. “Mainly what I go for is to have a less stressful, less painful life. Our canine partners can benefit from it too.”

“The world is stressful enough as it is,” said McCain, “so we just need a little love from somebody else to kind of facilitate the healing in ourselves.”

McClain can be reached at 208-269-0248 or mikyrob@gmail.com.

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